AL Central Notes: Hughes, Iglesias, Coke, Sveum

Twins right-hander Phil Hughes chatted with Brandon Warne of the St. Paul Pioneer Press about his turnaround this season and his decision to return to the curveball he had abandoned in favor of a slider. As Warne notes, Hughes is using a three-pitch mix — four-seamer, cutter and curveball — to great effect, having compiled a 3.23 ERA with 7.3 K/9 and 0.9 BB/9 en route to 1.9 fWAR through his first 61 1/3 innings as a Twin. Hughes, who has faced 175 batters since his issuing his last walk, credits improved mechanics and an emphasis on throwing strikes for his turnaround. He’ll return to Yankee Stadium for the first time this weekend, which he says he’s looking forward to. “I think human nature is you’re going to get a little more amped up for something like that,” Hughes tells Warne. “It’ll be fun.”

Here’s more on the Twins and the rest of the AL Central…

  • The Twins will be present at today’s Raciel Iglesias showcase in Haiti, reports MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez (Twitter link). However, it might not be worth reading too much into that, as Sanchez also notes that the Twins “see everyone.” The New York Post’s Joel Sherman noted last night that some teams feel Iglesias can help a big league bullpen this season.
  • Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski tells Steve Kaminski of MLive.com that fans tend to “jump on situations and focus on individuals” when a team is struggling, and he doesn’t think that Phil Coke is the team’s problem at this point. Dombrowski said he feels that Coke has thrown the ball better of late, which is true to an extent, but he does still own a 5.91 ERA in the month of May (albeit, an improvement from his 8.10 mark in April). Dombrowski feels that the team’s pitching staff is well-equipped to recover from its recent rough patch.
  • New Royals hitting coach Dale Sveum feels that the team is swinging at too many pitches down in the zone rather than waiting to pounce on pitches that are left up, he tells MLB.com’s Dick Kaegel. Sveum offered high praise for the man he replaced, Pedro Grifol, and talked about the difficulty of the role of hitting coach: “You’re dealing with the to do of any manager, of any coach, of any position. The hitting coach — anybody will also say — is the most difficult. Unfortunately, it’s the most transitional, too.”

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